Gee, Ya Think?

The NY Observer on the apparent split between the GOP talking heads and pundits and the GOP voters:

But it may simply be that the Republican electorate (or at least enough of it to select a nominee) may not be as ideologically pure as the conservative pundits might prefer. Perhaps many Republican voters really do think global warming should be addressed. It could be that lots of Republican voters like tax cuts but want them accompanied by good old-fashioned budget cuts. It may be that when they’re not in the throes of an impassioned immigration debate, many Republican voters wouldn’t mind eventually legalizing millions of immigrants, so long as the border is sealed first. And frankly, G.O.P. primary voters simply may find Mr. McCain’s heretical support for campaign finance reform a lot less significant than personal character traits like honesty, courage and persistence.

It sure would be nice to think that the base of the dwindling GOP is not as batshit insane as the nutters at the NRO, Red State, etc., but I have not seen much evidence of it. The thing that needs to be said, over and over, though, is that Rush Limbaugh and those guys simply aren’t conservatives. They just aren’t. Radically restructuring government to create an unaccountable executive is not conservative. Building a security apparatus that is designed to spy on citizens is not a conservative principle. Runaway spending and bloated budgets are not conservative ideas. Torture and permanent aggressive wars are not conservative principles. Fearmongering and keeping the electorate scared is not a conservative principle. And on and on.

The fact of the matter is the self-styled loud-mouth conservatives just aren’t very conservative.

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64 replies
  1. 1
    Zifnab says:

    And frankly, G.O.P. primary voters simply may find Mr. McCain’s heretical support for campaign finance reform a lot less significant than personal character traits like honesty, courage and persistence.

    It would be nice if McCain possessed any of those traits.

  2. 2
    Davis X. Machina says:

    Movement ‘conservatism’ has roughly the same intellectual content as being, say, a Milwaukee Brewers fan.

    Throw away your Burke and Oakeshott and get a big foam “We’re #1 finger”, because that’s the level at which movement ‘conservatism’ is conducted.

    The dead Vince Lombardi (‘Winning isn’t everything, it’s the only thing’) has done from beyond the grave what a living Hitler, a living Stalin, a living Jefferson Davis could not do — destroy the Republic

  3. 3
    LiberalTarian says:

    See, that’s what I’m talkin’ about.

    I used to just have philosophical disagreements with my Republican friends. Now I can’t talk to them at all. It isn’t just wanting the same things but getting there by different means, it is radically not wanting the same things anymore.

    At long last, will someone reverse the Republican party’s Limbaughtomy???

  4. 4
    Jen says:

    Someone hasn’t spent enough time in the 27% campers wing of the blogosphere lately…

    Here’s my thing, I have just given up trying to apply logic to the electorate. This was in a Yahoo story:

    And so the question, as framed for them by the presidential candidates, is who is best positioned to change things — someone with Washington experience who can do, or the outsider who can change how it’s done?

    Americans are about evenly split on the answer, according to the poll conducted by Knowledge Networks. Fifty-two percent favor experience; 47 percent opt for an outsider.

    Robert Colton, a Republican from Portland, Ore., comes down on the side of experience.

    He yearns for someone who knows “how to work the system to get something done.”

    “The one we have right now, he had no insider experience and look what he’s done,” Colton said, referring to President Bush. He likes Obama and Republican John McCain, both of them senators.

    Barbara Ellis, an independent from Mesa, Ariz., thinks an outsider is the solution.

    “I’m so tired of the pat on the back and ‘you do it for me, and I’ll do it for you’ kind of thing,” she said.

    But in a sign that the labels of outsider and insider can mean different things to different people, Ellis also favors Obama and McCain.

    So, I’m not gonna go all psychobabble on you here, but has anyone read Malcolm Gladwell’s Blink? One of the basic premises is that people don’t actually know why they do things. They think they know, but they don’t. And every time I read stuff like this, it occurs to me that the typical voter is probably just picking someone who appeals to them, on some basic and fundamental level. I admit that the M.U.P. appeals to me on a basic and fundamental level much more than Hillary. He just does. But, anyway, then these people, and probably myself included, come up with some sort of explanation for that liking, such as “he’s an outsider”. There’s a good example of that in the book involving an intellectual puzzle and ropes and subconscious clues, but no one realized they’d gotten a clue to solving the puzzle and instead made up a reason they’d solved it. If anyone is really captivated by this theory I’ll look for it, otherwise I’ll just go ahead and shut up now. Thanks for the platform. This is the *best* place for platforms, btw.

  5. 5
    Zifnab says:

    See, that’s the problem with the conservative movement. The founding principles of conservatism – limited government, accountability in government, fiscal responsibility, transparency, realism as opposed to idealism – aren’t necessarily counter to the ideas of liberalism – charity, compassion, diplomacy, eco-friendliness, government oversight.

    In fact, a smart mix of the two – a transparent, limited, fiscally sound government that acts to keep the environment clean, the unfortunate healthy, and the general populace off each other’s throats – is (in my mind) the path to a good and successful administration of the country.

    But because the ideologies have to be “at war” (for reasons only a die-hard pundit can explain), we are always being forced to pick between limited government and charitable government, eco-friendly government and fiscally sound government, diplomacy and “realism”, security and freedom.

    When it gets really bad, you see the worst of both worlds. Dems championing poverty-fighting, eco-friendly, diplomatic measures with Reps championing fiscal responsibility, limited government, and pre-emptive wars, with “sensible people” siding with the politicians that enact neither policy.

    You saw it in the 50s and 60s, when we got promised the Big Nanny State that failed to actually nanny anybody. And you get to see it again in the 90s and 00s, with the Big Daddy State that fails to act responsibly or sensibly.

    :p

  6. 6
    Wilfred says:

    I liken the RedState crowd to the takfiri jihadis – they’re always going on and on about who is a ‘real’ conservative, the same way the jihadis decide who is a Muslim.

    Their choices are so far out of line with what most people want they can only be considered a takfiri cult themselves.

    Takfiricon.

  7. 7

    …Radically restructuring government to create an unaccountable executive is not conservative. Building a security apparatus that is designed to spy on citizens is not a conservative principle. Runaway spending and bloated budgets are not conservative ideas. Torture and permanent aggressive wars are not conservative principles. Fearmongering and keeping the electorate scared is not a conservative principle…

    Why Ed John Cole, for a moment you sounded just like Dirty Harry Ron Paul.

  8. 8
    Jake says:

    The fact of the matter is the self-styled loud-mouth conservatives just aren’t very conservative.

    Yep. Thanks to Jonah Goldberg we know those schmoes are raving liberals.

    One of the basic premises is that people don’t actually know why they do things. They think they know, but they don’t.

    Everything you say is true, but one thing I took away from the book was that the decision we make when we ‘blink’ is more often than not the right one. When we give ourselves time to reason or we have to justify a reaction that we can run into trouble. (You can’t just look at the statue and say “Yuck.”) You could argue that once people start to give reasons they support a particular candidate they’ve moved further away from their initial impression.

    To give an extreme example, I bet there are a fair number of people who voted for Bush who on first glance said “Yuck.”

  9. 9
    libarbarian says:

    Somewhat off-topic:

    I’m listening to a speech by Jim Kramer (“Mad Money”) ripping into the concept of “laissez-faire”. Its actually kinda good.

  10. 10
    Tom Hilton says:

    The fact of the matter is the self-styled loud-mouth conservatives just aren’t very conservative.

    No; they’re what Hofstadter termed pseudo-conservatives.

  11. 11
    Caidence (fmr. Chris) says:

    The thing that needs to be said, over and over, though, is that Rush Limbaugh and those guys simply aren’t conservatives.

    Been saying that since 1999, when I was 17.

    Nobody listened to me. I think the tagline was “That’s not how the terms work, you haven’t been around that long”. My counter was “Yeah, but that’s just not how semantics work. Authoritarianism just isn’t conservative damn it”

    Young people need to recognize experience and experienced veterans better, but when the hell are old bastards gonna learn that kids are kids because they have better pattern recognition?

    What? Stem cells are great, but humans comprised of high quantities of stem cells are completely full of shit? Huh?

  12. 12
    Jen says:

    To give an extreme example, I bet there are a fair number of people who voted for Bush who on first glance said “Yuck.”

    And the inverse is true for Guiliani…the more you knew, the more he creeped you out, and the righter you got about him…

    the decision we make when we ‘blink’ is more often than not the right one.

    and this part, I remember as being a little more qualified, along the lines of, when we ‘blink’ at something we know a lot about, that we have expertise in, then that knowledge is part of that instinct. Like the people who knew the statue was a fake because they had an instant visceral reaction against it, were experts. But you’re right that I think the overall argument was that our ‘blinks’ serve us well, and often better than what we think are our rational and logical and well-thought-out arguments.

    Hooray! New justification for the Pony!

  13. 13
    Ed Drone says:

    The fact of the matter is the self-styled loud-mouth conservatives just aren’t very conservative.

    Well, why not? After all, they’ve completely changed the perceived meaning of ‘liberal,’ so why not shit their own bed, too? They live but to drag down the rest of us. Disfunctional, delusional, detracting destroyers, bent on bringing the wide world to their low, lying level* — that’s your modern ‘conservative.’

    Ed

    * Alliteration noted and enhanced.

  14. 14

    So, I’m not gonna go all psychobabble on you here, but has anyone read Malcolm Gladwell’s Blink? One of the basic premises is that people don’t actually know why they do things.

    Jen, I read it about two weeks ago, and I must say I agree. He makes an intriguing point. I will have to think about this a while, but you may be onto something here, because I do often wonder what the hell people are thinking. I am never sure what facts people use to base their conclusions on, but it is interesting that we see different things in the same candidate, or we have different definitions for words. Your quoted text points out this fascinating conundrum.

  15. 15
    jrg says:

    If liberals hate it, it is conservative. Yes, it’s that simple.

    Conservative simply means “not liberal”. That’s why Saddam is a liberal: because Bush is a conservative.

  16. 16
    Caidence (fmr. Chris) says:

    So, I’m not gonna go all psychobabble on you here, but has anyone read Malcolm Gladwell’s Blink? One of the basic premises is that people don’t actually know why they do things. They think they know, but they don’t.

    From the novice reading I’ve got in computational neurology…

    1.) A machine can’t evaluate itself, electrical or neurological. I think it was one of Turing’s pieces that proved it. Any attempt to self-evaluate is a “justification”, not an actual evaluation. It’s just an illusion

    2.) The lower levels of the brain have better pattern recognition, but have no — or very poor (not sure) — language to express those thoughts.

    The downside of the lack of language is that everything is very muddled, and very confusing to us. If we walk into a voting booth planning for Obama, but we seem to “slip” and hit the button for Clinton, we would think it was a complete mistake because we can’t understand what just happened. And we’ll never know what the full intention was.

    The upside of everything being very muddled is that the logic is less discrete. Answers don’t have to fit into predetermined buckets. While your brain’s upper levels will say “I have to either choose Obama or Hillary”, your lower levels are more free to say insane shit like “I’m going to take Hillarack with the big ears and the $400 haircut”. (This of course has to work itself out into a real answer, but it makes for better computation at the time)

  17. 17
    Caidence (fmr. Chris) says:

    Jen, I read it about two weeks ago, and I must say I agree. He makes an intriguing point.

    It’s not so much an argument. It’s much closer to fact.

    The only reason it seems novel to people now is because its only at this point in history that we’re learning to treat ourselves like physical machines, instead of spooky, mysterious souls.

    If you’re interested in that stuff, I’d suggest you keep reading Blink and other materials over a longer period of time. The mechanics of the brain trying to be self-introspective are slow, and it’s best to take it as a series of tips and considerations, instead of one Special Awesome Truth that’s Life Changing. That’s a good way to fuck yourself up.

  18. 18
    Walker says:

    1.) A machine can’t evaluate itself, electrical or neurological. I think it was one of Turing’s pieces that proved it. Any attempt to self-evaluate is a “justification”, not an actual evaluation. It’s just an illusion

    Older. This is essentially Goedel’s Incompleteness Theorem: no sufficiently strong system can prove its own consistency.

    So, I’m not gonna go all psychobabble on you here, but has anyone read Malcolm Gladwell’s Blink?

    Is it better than his work in Tipping Point? Because experimental studies are showing the claims in that book to be false

  19. 19
    Jody says:

    The fact of the matter is the self-styled loud-mouth conservatives just aren’t very conservative.

    I’ve been saying that for years. And my conservative friends called me a traitor when I said it.

  20. 20
    Caidence (fmr. Chris) says:

    Damn it, I geeked so hard I got geek slime all over the site and shut it down.

    That crap is corrosive, I tells ya.

  21. 21
    Caidence (fmr. Chris) says:

    Goedel’s Incompleteness Theorem

    hmm, I has some reading to do.

  22. 22
    Fe E says:

    Radically restructuring government to create an unaccountable executive is not conservative. Building a security apparatus that is designed to spy on citizens is not a conservative principle. Runaway spending and bloated budgets are not conservative ideas. Torture and permanent aggressive wars are not conservative principles. Fearmongering and keeping the electorate scared is not a conservative principle.

    Just for the record though, those aren’t liberal principles either–they are authoritarian principles. I’m not saying you implied that, I just wanted it out there in case we get some new trolls today.

  23. 23
    F. Frederson says:

    Rush Limbaugh and those guys simply aren’t conservatives.

    Yes, they are, if you understand that conservativism is about maintaining the existing social hierarchy and power structure. All the ideas and issues and sayings Limbaugh and others throw out as being principles for “conservatives” to follow are a smokescreen, and always have been.

    Unitary executive, police state, permanent war generating bloated defense contracts that allow for kickbacks campaign donations from the CEO class – all these things are extremely conservative if your party is in power.

  24. 24
    Grand Moff Texan says:

    The fact of the matter is the self-styled loud-mouth conservatives just aren’t very conservative.

    Of course not. They’re paid advertisers for the parasites’ lifestyle, and we all get to pay for it, all because there are enough yokels in this country who are stupid enough to fall for it, again, and again, and again, and again, and again, and again, and again, and again, and again, and again, and again, and again, and again, and again, and again, and again, and again, and again, and again.
    .

  25. 25
    swellsman says:

    For anyone interested, I always found Douglas Hofstadter’s “Godel, Escher Bach” a very entertaining introduction to, and then hypothesis about, the nature of consciousness. Hofstadter argues that self-referential systems are, in essence, consciousness and he discusses Godel’s Incompleteness Theorem in some detail (for lay people).

    Plus, the book is interspersed with amusing dialogues between characters like Achilles, the Tortoise, the Crab, etc.

  26. 26
    Grand Moff Texan says:

    I’ve been saying that for years. And my conservative friends called me a traitor when I said it.

    Of course they did. It’s not like they had anything intelligent to say. They’re not even smart enough to be a fifth column.

    More like just a weak link.
    .

  27. 27
    Jen says:

    Well, Caidence and Walker can duke it out as to whether Blink was objectively true or objectively false or whatever. I remember reading the infamous “abortion/crime” correlation from Freakonomics, and then later reading a fairly persuasive argument that much more strongly correlated with crime was the relative lead levels children are exposed to., and that internationally there was no abortion/crime correlation, etc.etc.

    For me, this is a fairly common phenomenon — oooh! this expert says this and that sounds good! — oh! but now eggs are bad for you and chocolate is good and I can’t remember what red wine is again and was I still supposed to drink 8 glasses of water or day or will my body let me know when it’s thirsty?

    So, personally, I make no claims about whether any of its accurate or not ’cause I ain’t no brain researcher, see? All the same, when reading comments like those people in the Yahoo/AP article? It’s the best I can come up with, yo.

  28. 28

    […] Det er sagt før, mange gange – men det fortjener at blive gentaget. Her af en frafalden GOP’er – John Cole: […] […]

  29. 29
    srv says:

    I really can’t tell the difference between John and Tim anymore.

  30. 30
    Caidence (fmr. Chris) says:

    Well, Caidence and Walker can duke it out as to whether Blink was objectively true or objectively false or whatever. I remember reading the infamous “abortion/crime” correlation from Freakonomics, and then later reading a fairly persuasive argument that much more strongly correlated with crime was the relative lead levels children are exposed to., and that internationally there was no abortion/crime correlation, etc.etc.

    Correlation/Causation.

    Yes, the lead correlated strongly, but Levitt *proved* the abortion thing. That’s why it was so cutting edge. He wasn’t just saying “this is what it sounds like” and the Right-wing could shoot him down. He _proved_ it and now the Right-wing has been shoveling money into the furnace trying to disprove it, to no effect so far.

    You’re right that there’s a lot of experts say shit that doesn’t pan out because its only correlation. But you *can* tell when someone got something solid, if you look for the word “cause”. (You’ll see “may cause” when it’s a bunch of hacks digging for grant money)

  31. 31
    CFisher says:

    I used to be a conservative back in the 90s.

    Then George Bush got elected and suddenly (judging from the responses I get at places like TownHall.com) I somehow unknowingly became a frothing member of the evil liberal conspiracy who’s filled with Bush Derangement Syndrome.

    Go figure.

  32. 32
    My Truth Hurts says:

    Actually John if you look at the actions and rhetoric of American conservatives back through Nixon and all the way to right after WWII you will find them working towards all of those principles. Rush, NRO, Red State, torture and surveillance in the name of “security”, enemies lists, radical restructuring, permanent war, out of control spending (for “security” of course), etc, etc are the desired result of conservatism. From the start conservatism has denied the very progressive and liberal origins of our country and rewritten history and denied reality to suit their bankrupt ideology.

    What we have today is the desired results and logical conclusion of modern American conservatism. You are still fooling yourself and ignorant of the history of the movement if you believe anything else.

    I’m not saying I like the left or Democrats either as I am from Chicago, but man, you are so wrong about this. To see people like you backpedaling now and rejecting these folks as not being “true conservatives” is a load of crap. They are everything conservatism has worked for for over 60 years! Your guys shit in the bed and now you have to lay in it.

  33. 33
    Caidence (fmr. Chris) says:

    I really can’t tell the difference between John the “Right Wing” and Tim tribal warlords with clubs and protruding foreheads anymore.

    Hope that clarifies why they seem to be on the same side these days.

  34. 34
    My Truth Hurts says:

    Actually John if you look at the actions and rhetoric of American conservatives back through Nixon and all the way to right after WWII you will find them working towards all of those principles. Rush, NRO, Red State, torture and surveillance in the name of “security”, enemies lists, radical restructuring, permanent war, out of control spending (for “security” of course), etc, etc are the desired result of conservatism. From the start conservatism has denied the very progressive and liberal origins of our country and rewritten history and denied reality to suit their bankrupt ideology.

    What we have today is the desired results and logical conclusion of modern American conservatism. You are still fooling yourself and ignorant of the history of the movement if you believe anything else.

    I’m not saying I like the left or Democrats either as I am from Chicago, but man, you are so wrong about this. To see people like you backpedaling now and rejecting these folks as not being “true conservatives” is a load of crap. They are everything conservatism has worked for for over 60 years! Your guys shit in the bed and now you have to lay in it.

  35. 35
    Caidence (fmr. Chris) says:

    I really can’t tell the difference between John the “Right Wing” and Tim tribal warlords with clubs and protruding foreheads anymore.

    Hope that clarifies why they seem to be on the same side these days.

  36. 36
    LiberalTarian says:

    Douglas Hofstadter’s “Godel, Escher Bach” a very entertaining introduction to, and then hypothesis about, the nature of consciousness.

    It’s also right up there with “advanced” cognition reading.

    Goleman’s books on emotional intelligence and Schwartz’s books on the brain are much more accessible. Then there’s always Sapolsky, “Why Zebras Don’t Get Ulcers” and others are very entertaining and interesting. Don’t forget Temple Grandin.

    Then, of course, there are always the Mind Hack books by O’Reilly Publishing.

    But no, I haven’t read Blink yet, although it is on my list. :)

  37. 37
    numbskull says:

    Radically restructuring government to create an unaccountable executive is not conservative. Building a security apparatus that is designed to spy on citizens is not a conservative principle. Runaway spending and bloated budgets are not conservative ideas. Torture and permanent aggressive wars are not conservative principles. Fearmongering and keeping the electorate scared is not a conservative principle. And on and on.

    Judas Priest, John, then how far back do you have to go to find a “real conservative”? Because all that shit you wrote has defined the ELECTED conservatives since, shit, 5 minutes after Ike stepped down?

    All that crap is espoused by conservative leaders, elected and otherwise, and supported by conservative voters. It’s been that way for at least 60 years. So what.in.the.fuck. are you talking about?

    The crap you list IS THE post-WWII CONSERVATIVE MOVEMENT.

    Please scrawl it on your forehead backwards so you can remember that every morning.

  38. 38
    Jen says:

    Levitt proved the abortion thing.

    Well, I don’t know if he proved it exactly; I saw him on the teevee saying he’d really like to, for science’s sake, reverse Roe v. Wade and wait twenty years so that he could really test the strength of his argument. I mean, you don’t say things like that if you’ve really proved something, right?

    /end lawyerly nitpicking

    But anyway. I liked Blink. My sister now says she is not getting married unless she can subject her potential future husband to the “will your marriage last” testing that is described in the beginning part of the book. It’s interesting stuff, I need definite laymen’s science explanations so Gladwell, Stephen J. Gould, etc. are at the perfect level for me.

  39. 39
    Caidence (fmr. Chris) says:

    Well, I don’t know if he proved it exactly; I saw him on the teevee saying he’d really like to, for science’s sake, reverse Roe v. Wade and wait twenty years so that he could really test the strength of his argument. I mean, you don’t say things like that if you’ve really proved something, right?

    He only proved that it worked the first time, in the past. Tossing RvW would be testing it against the future.

    If past stock performance we’re a guarantee of future performance, I’d use Google and get freaking rich.

    The conditions will change, it may not happen again, and his proof is only support future correlations (not causations) that abortion has a positive effect on crime.

    etc.

    There’s a dude — I think at George Mason U — who’s an economics professor who’s on the nutcase-end of the Pro-Life group. Since the proof offends his sensibilities (that all hoo-mahns are incapable of crime, apparently), every year since the proof he’s drafted one of his undergrad econ classes to find cracks in the logic.

    Not a single crack found, I hear. It’s a proof, all right.

  40. 40
    Jake says:

    Like the people who knew the statue was a fake because they had an instant visceral reaction against it, were experts.

    Right, but we’re all experts in people. If memory hasn’t completely failed, the second example was a woman who was raped by the guy who helped her carry her groceries. She knew something was Very Wrong, but “reason” said she was being silly, it would be rude to refuse help, etc.

    You could say the entire GOP 2004 campaign was a clever perversion of the theory. They made people blink (LOOK OUT!!) they told them why they were blinking (Democrats! No, terrist@ No, same thing!!) And they told them how to get away from the thing that was making them blink. (Vote for The Deciderator!)

  41. 41
    Darkness says:

    F. Frederson Says:

    Rush Limbaugh and those guys simply aren’t conservatives.

    Yes, they are, if you understand that conservativism is about maintaining the existing social hierarchy and power structure. All the ideas and issues and sayings Limbaugh and others throw out as being principles for “conservatives” to follow are a smokescreen, and always have been.

    This would explain why the “class warfare” accusation has been thrown out with such panicked vehemence this cycle. It’s had the stench of cold-sweat, diseased desperation to it that other far more pressing topical arguments have not. Comments about the liberals hating the military are tossed out like a game of horseshoes is in play. Comments about the left refusing to let the government spy on everyone harkens of spittle-flecked automotons. But the class warfare jabs, those ring true to the soul of the speaker and they stink of true fear.

  42. 42
    Jen says:

    Well, okay, but clearly we sometimes we have the wrong initial instincts about people. There is a former boyfriends, that, well, let’s just say that time did not bear out what he initially appeared to be. Or not be. Such as psychotic and abusive and a better fit for the Taliban.

    And sometimes there are presidents who also fit that mold, although I am proud to say that my instincts are spot-on in that case. And people are different, of course. I literally have never been able to stand the sight or sound of GWB. The smirk, on his face or in his voice, permeates everything and drives me absolutely bonkers. I would not let GWB carry my groceries to the car.

    Anyway, the weird thing about that abortion/crime correlation, I think, is that nobody really wants that as their talking point, it’s not really like something pro-choicers are going to go around trying to sell their cause on since it wouldn’t be too far away from eugenics (in a bad situation, no money, no babydaddy? Abortion is probably the answer for you! Otherwise your kid’s gonna be a criminal! Ask your doctor about abortion today.)

  43. 43
    HyperIon says:

    Caidence (fmr. Chris) Says:

    Levitt proved the abortion thing.

    how did he prove it?
    you seem to imply it was a proof in the logic sense.
    i don’t think you know what you are talking about!

  44. 44
    ImJohnGalt says:

    Conservatism didn’t fail us. We failed conservatism.

    Liberals = fascists. Conservatism != what happens when people elected as conservatives govern. Got it.

    Christ, you sound a like die-hard communist.

    “It still hasn’t been tried perfectly!”

  45. 45

    those guys simply aren’t conservatives. They just aren’t. Radically restructuring government to create an unaccountable executive is not conservative. Building a security apparatus that is designed to spy on citizens is not a conservative principle. Runaway spending and bloated budgets are not conservative ideas. Torture and permanent aggressive wars are not conservative principles. Fearmongering and keeping the electorate scared is not a conservative principle. And on and on.

    No, they’re not conservatives – they’re authoritarians. Somehow conservatism appeals to the authoritarians a bit more broadly than liberalism. Now I’m no where near qualified to do pyschoanalysis on a Party. I can observe trends but trying to link small government with authoritarianism in motive or other sense is past me. Somehow the idea of telling people what to do just appeals. The Rush crowd just has a hook to hang their sickness on, provided by the Reublican Party for political power reasons. You might go back to Ike or even Goldwater and find a Party of principle, but Goldwater’s drubbing cured them of that. John Cole may have had principles and mistaken the Republican Party for having the same ones but starting with Nixon’s ugly win you were dealing with power and greed, not small government and civil restraint.

    The sad part is whether that Party can be taken back is very open to question. That creates a very uncomfortable reality if it doesn’t happen. Which candidate looks like that? Only Paul in a very very broad interpretation of Paul. Ronald Reagan was never anymore than the same tool, I’m sorry for all the “sanctifiers,” go past his BS “moring in America” and look at what he actually did. Look at who won and who lost and why those losses occured. The “ironman” RR is responsible for the growth of terror in the Middle East, HE allowed it a success (its first) – without penalty.

    I am a lefty, I don’t think small government can address the problems of this nation’s populace, so I do have an ideological problem with conservatives, but that is an entirely different deal than my outrage concerning authoritarianism and plutocracy – that one pushes me real hard. I’ve been fighting against those pricks my entire adult life and I’m 54. I stay in politics because the alternative is violence.

  46. 46
    LiberalTarian says:

    And sometimes there are presidents who also fit that mold, although I am proud to say that my instincts are spot-on in that case. And people are different, of course. I literally have never been able to stand the sight or sound of GWB. The smirk, on his face or in his voice, permeates everything and drives me absolutely bonkers. I would not let GWB carry my groceries to the car.

    That would be your clever “dog brain.” The dog brain doesn’t have mixed emotions, if it doesn’t like someone you cannot convince it you were wrong. It’s your frontal cortex that will get you to go ahead and let that rapist follow you to your car, cuz you’ll talk yourself out of being afraid because “you are nice to everybody.”

    Those 24%ers? Thinking with their dog brain. That’s why the Republicans are so adept at their dog whistle politics. ;)

    Of course, it applies to Naderites too. :( I had friends I tried to talk out of voting for Nader (they had that bush=gore poster up on their wall). I showed them facts re Gore’s environmental record v. Bush’s. No sale. Of course, now, even their dog brain admits Gore would have been a better vote than Nader.

    Oh well.

  47. 47
    Hypatia says:

    Rush Limbaugh and those guys simply aren’t conservatives.

    They’re Louis XIV conservatives, although I don’t mean to insult Louis. Although these days Cheney and crew are making the Sun King look like Hubert Humphrey.

  48. 48
    Nancy Irving says:

    You’re wrong. That’s what conservativism is now, and has been for a long time. Face it, you’re not just a Democrat now, you’re a liberal.

  49. 49
    Nancy Irving says:

    conservativism->conservatism, duh.

  50. 50
    flagwaiver says:

    The modern Republican party was born when Dixiecrat Senator Strom Thurmond switched to the GOP, a party much more congenial to his views. Concerns about the Constitution dwindled rapidly thereafter. Now, they are gone entirely.

  51. 51
    Tel says:

    “Somehow conservatism appeals to the authoritarians a bit more broadly than liberalism.” – Chuck Butcher

    In this particular instance, I’d agree. But in general authoritarianism is equally good at appealing to liberals (government takes care of the economy, society/tradition can do whatever it wants) and conservatives (government takes care of society/tradition, economy can do whatever it wants).

    Both liberals and conservatives have good motives: we can use the government to benefit the people. For liberals, what might start out as an attempt to level the playing field turns into a planned economy; and in trying to enforce a free society the government ends up making people less able to think and express themselves freely than before. For conservatives, an attempt to uphold our shared heritage turns into a religious crusade; and people’s greed and lack of consideration for consequences puts the economy in a worse place than before. Reds or Blackshirts, pick your poison.

    C.S. Lewis described this situation fairly accurately in his allegorical work, “Pilgrim’s Regress.” The forces of evil made their dual assault on human nature from the north and south poles, by a military rairoad. That temptation to deprive others of their freedom – for the best of reasons! – is always present, to every person, liberal or conservative. It can be resisted, but it’s never easy.

  52. 52
    Tom Hilton says:

    Funny that both Hofstadters get mentioned in this thread. Never read Douglas, but Richard is essential to understanding America.

  53. 53

    >The dead Vince Lombardi (‘Winning isn’t everything, it’s
    >the only thing’)

    Pet Peeve of mine: Vince Lombardi never said this, even though it’s often attributed to him.

    What he did say was ‘Winning isn’t a part of the time thing, it’s an all the time thing’, meaning that if you don’t put in a full effort when things aren’t important, you won’t be ready to put in a full effort when they are.

  54. 54
    Xenos says:

    The crap you list IS THE post-WWII CONSERVATIVE MOVEMENT.

    Go back further (without bringing the Southern states into it). Think about the racism and authoritarianism of the nativists and the Nazi sympathizers in the 1930s. Think about the Imperialists of the late 1800s. Think about the nativists and the obsession with the racial purity the American White Race (however it was constructed at any particular moment). Or about what got mobilized when the US invaded Mexico.

    Think about the violence that the Mormons faced that caused them to undertake their hegira to Utah. Or how in the 1820s the main social and political movement in upstate New York was the anti-Masonic party, and was an explicit rejection of the ecumenical and rationalist principles that organized the founding fathers of the country.

    We can go back further still, to the anti-catholic mobs in colonial-period cities, or to the early colonial leaders who casually exterminated the Pequot and who instigated King Philip’s war.

    There is no way we can pin this on Nixon, or Lindberg, or Father Coughlin, or whichever recent bastard we most resent. These sociopaths have always been with us, and it has always been a struggle to limit the destruction they seek to cause.

    The ‘Conservative Movement’ is just the latest attempt to dress this pathology up and to sell it to the voters and policy-makers.

  55. 55
    Graeme says:

    I voted for W. the first time around. I hated Clinton, and I thought I’d get better leadership, even though I had misgivings about W. Everything they complained about with Clinton, the GOP has gone out and done. And then some!

    I hear fewer and fewer thoughtful people defend this Administration. Many of my parents’ friends no longer donate money to the party, which I think is a good sign.

    I liked this Dean Barnett piece about the ongoing Conservative implosion. It makes sense: if I like the idea of fiscally responsible governance, why should I get behind efforts to keep brain damaged women on a feeding tube until the second coming?

    The coalition no longer makes sense.

    Also, I think we should demand transparency and competence from government. We pay a lot of money for it, and it’s not going away. We had a GOP Legislative and Executive, and the government grew. It’s not going away. So why shouldn’t we re-focus on ensuring it actually performs?

    I’m so sick of fear-mongering, torture, signing statements, and the TSA’s asinine liquids ban. To say nothing of this retarded war…

    Count me in as a M.U.P. voter. Especially if he’s serious about net neutrality and decriminalizing pot.

  56. 56
    Chris says:

    Funny, the Conservatism of Rush and Hannity and Coulter and the rest seemed just fine when Conservatism’s star was on the rise. Flailing around at this late juncture calling for ideological pogroms to rid the party apparatchik of impure influences – that IS conservative as it gets. The Party is stuck with Limbaugh as the heart of soul of the movement whether they like it or not.

  57. 57

    […] John Cole at Balloon Juice The thing that needs to be said, over and over, though, is that Rush Limbaugh and those guys simply aren’t conservatives. They just aren’t. Radically restructuring government to create an unaccountable executive is not conservative. Building a security apparatus that is designed to spy on citizens is not a conservative principle. Runaway spending and bloated budgets are not conservative ideas. Torture and permanent aggressive wars are not conservative principles. Fearmongering and keeping the electorate scared is not a conservative principle. And on and on. […]

  58. 58
    joe says:

    “Radically restructuring government to create an unaccountable executive is not conservative. Building a security apparatus that is designed to spy on citizens is not a conservative principle. Runaway spending and bloated budgets are not conservative ideas. Torture and permanent aggressive wars are not conservative principles. Fearmongering and keeping the electorate scared is not a conservative principle.”

    Gee John, you might have a point here if any of this were accurate…and I’m no Bush fan.

    Some government restructuring has been done in an attempt to keep us safe…the pre 9/11 status quo didn’t work, in case you missed it.

    I don’t know one conservative, and I know many, who is for an “unnacoutable executive”. Why on earth would we want that? That’s silly and over the top John.

    The rebuilt security apparatus was “designed” to spy on terrorists and whomever they are talking to in or out of the US John…quit being so paranoid.

    No conservatives I know are for runaway spending and bloated budgets…that’s why no conservative I know thinks that GWB is or has ever been a conservative (check approval rating).

    The new S. of State, approved by the democratic congress, apparently doesn’t believe waterboarding is torture…neither do I, and there’s nothing unconservative about gathering information from known mass murderers, to try to save american lives.

    Regarding fearmongering. Conservatives arn’t scared John…just aware, careful and proponents of pro-active policy. We’re not interested in burying our heads in the sand and hoping that everything will be OK.

    Finally, not to defend Rush, because he can certanly do that on his own, but if you’re going to complain that his positions (and other prominant conservatives) are not conservative, you should at least be accurate about what his positions are…you’re way off.

    Stay away from Olbermann

  59. 59
    numbskull says:

    Joe, you’re living in a fantasy. Let me help burst your bubble. Of the two front-runners for the GOP nomination, which one most fits your idea of a conservative, and for what reasons?

  60. 60

    […] John Cole nails it… The thing that needs to be said, over and over, though, is that Rush Limbaugh and those guys simply aren’t conservatives. They just aren’t. Radically restructuring government to create an unaccountable executive is not conservative. Building a security apparatus that is designed to spy on citizens is not a conservative principle. Runaway spending and bloated budgets are not conservative ideas. Torture and permanent aggressive wars are not conservative principles. Fearmongering and keeping the electorate scared is not a conservative principle. And on and on. […]

  61. 61
    grumpy realist says:

    Joe–when the clowns up there floating your little power trip have decided, in the name of “national security”, to THROW OUT EVERY SINGLE FRIGGIN’ CHECK AND BALANCE WE HAVE FROM OVER 1000 YEARS OF LEGAL TRADITION there is NO bloody way you can call that “sensible.”

    You might understand the concept of checks and balances a bit more if your neighbor reported on you to Authority as a Bonafide Terrorist and YOU were the one who ended up getting waterboarded.

    Feh–some “conservative”! You’re a good little Stalinist, perfectly willing to do anything to an Enemy of the People, just on the government’s say so.

  62. 62
    joe says:

    numb,

    I assure you my feet are planted firmly on the ground. Neither of them “fit” very well, for a variety of reasons. I like Mccain less simply because in his constant quest for media attention, he’s repeatedly “reached across the isle”, in his words, only to find his pants at his ankles and his wallet missing…I’m tired of his “maverick” antics. I agree with Pauls small government, low tax, reduce spending approach but he’s too much of a nut when it comes to foreign policy as well as some other nutty positions (ie: evolution). Thompson was the best “fit” as a conservative, but was a poor candidate. Part of the frustration I have with the Rep. field is that there are no “conservatives”, who are also attractive candidates.

    Grumpy realist

    Ad-homenim…the entire liberal playbook from A-Z. Boring! try calming the hysterics a little and if you have someting substinative to say or ask, maybe we can learn somthing from each other?? Maybe not.

  63. 63
    Xenos says:

    Part of the frustration I have with the Rep. field is that there are no “conservatives”, who are also attractive candidates.

    That should tell you something, no?

    As for McCain, if he had any true conservative principles, he would have left the GOP long ago.

  64. 64
    joe says:

    X,

    It tells me the in 2008, there are no strong conservatives candidates, who are charasmatic ie: attractive!

    Some think Mccain has never been part of the GOP.

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. […] John Cole nails it… The thing that needs to be said, over and over, though, is that Rush Limbaugh and those guys simply aren’t conservatives. They just aren’t. Radically restructuring government to create an unaccountable executive is not conservative. Building a security apparatus that is designed to spy on citizens is not a conservative principle. Runaway spending and bloated budgets are not conservative ideas. Torture and permanent aggressive wars are not conservative principles. Fearmongering and keeping the electorate scared is not a conservative principle. And on and on. […]

  2. […] John Cole at Balloon Juice The thing that needs to be said, over and over, though, is that Rush Limbaugh and those guys simply aren’t conservatives. They just aren’t. Radically restructuring government to create an unaccountable executive is not conservative. Building a security apparatus that is designed to spy on citizens is not a conservative principle. Runaway spending and bloated budgets are not conservative ideas. Torture and permanent aggressive wars are not conservative principles. Fearmongering and keeping the electorate scared is not a conservative principle. And on and on. […]

  3. […] Det er sagt før, mange gange – men det fortjener at blive gentaget. Her af en frafalden GOP’er – John Cole: […] […]

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